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A Poem:

I Hear It Said

by Barbara Young


Last night my friend--he says he is my friend--
Came in and questioned me. "I hear it said
You have done this and that. I come to ask
Are these things true?" A glint was in his eye
Of small distrust. His words were crisp and hot.
He measured me with anger, and flung down
A little heap of facts had come to him.
"I hear it said you have done this and that."

Suppose I have? And are you not my friend?
And are you not my friend enough to say,
"If it were true, there would be reason in it.
And if I cannot know the how and why,
Still I can trust you, waiting for a word.
Or for no word, if no word ever come!"

Is friendship just a thing of afternoons,
Of pleasuring one's friend and one's dear self--
Greed for sedate approval of his pace,
Suspicion if he take one little turn

Upon the rod, one flight into the air,
And has not sought you for your Yea or Nay!

No. Friendship is not so. I am my own.
And howsoever near my friend may draw
Unto my sould, there is a legend hung
Above a certain straight and narrow way
Says, "Dear my friend, ye may not enter here!"

I would the time has come--as it has not--
When men shall rise and say, "He is my friend.
He has done this? And what is that to me!
Think you have a check upon his head,
Or cast a guiding rein across his neck?
I am his friend. And for that cause I walk
Not overclose beside him, leaving still
Space for his silences, and space for mine."

--Barbara Young

This is a poem included in an article entitled, The Most Painful Sin, which was first published in the April 1996 edition of Personal Update.


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